I’ve traveled, watched places unfold under me,
as shirts from beleaguered cases onto hangers.
Many streets left behind and those right in front
reveal a tourist’s gift, unspoken surprises.
Bread, wine, flowers in paper wound in twine.
On my watch, my time, grows long,
The farther away from the terminal,
Smaller and blurred with distant eyes.
Immediately, rushing over blocks
cobbled and rough on my heels,
I return one last time to visit
The old hotel and her permanent residents.
Stopping to sit at the feet of the Winged Victory,
as she spans wide open on her pedestal,
A headless ranking queen of a seedy artists’ hotel,
but she’s mad you know…angry.
A lazy outstretched arm where sensuous old ladies and
tawdry little blue boys alike come to find heaven.
Some stairs usually leading to a window
where I watch the crowds queue into a pyramid below,
startled by a three-story single,
crowded room overrun by alabaster bodies
twisted about, quite unnaturally.
White, milky skin, robed shoulders,
un-uninformed guards so incongruously
here for quick fixes.
A crack here, a small nick there,
and a careful cleaning before they leave
with what they came for –
Each goddess, poet, beggar, thinker,
and creature alike, alone
under watchful passers eyes,
While new coats and incarnadine
daybeds like benches in a park,
hurriedly restored for their arrival.
The permanent residents at the Richelieu arm,
the medieval cellar, the baroque hallway,
the glass palace.
With their cold white and black veined
marble limbs and sad sightless
medieval eyes return for a peek tonight.
Unlike the rich blue irises
stolen by the brush of a madman,
or still life by
Lenses focused in vain on
those bodies waiting,
arms hiding their nudity,
Shame replaced their once lively,
graceful likenesses stolen by angry hammers and chisels.
Once Royal,or somehow important
now they share rooms with boys riding turtles,
Mary Magdalene, the prostrate bodies of
beaten soldiers, and lovers’ locked
in uncomfortable embraces.
Sending postcards from faraway places,
you never did know who I spoke to those days,
When the crowded trains whisked me away to the sounds of slowing breath,
Rising and fighting falling off for the night,
home the cat pushing the phone away from your mouth.
Bringing home irrelevant souvenirs,
To somehow convince you that next year,
maybe next time you accompany me here.